Saturday, August 10, 2019

Enamel Market, Pasadena Convention Center 2019 - UPDATED 8.13.19

Enamel Market is a pin, patch and products show. Sponsors include the folks behind DesignerCon.

Details for the 2019 show.
Enamel Market is a Pop Up Event for Pins, Patches, and Art. A Marketplace for independent Artists, Creators and Makers.

About this Event

Enamel Market is The Premier Pop Up Event for Pins, Patches, and Art. A Marketplace for independent Artists, Creators and Makers.
This is our One Year Anniversary Event featuring 60+ different Artists, Vendors, and Brands. Its the perfect event to get your Pin Game on point and meet and talk to your favorite artist.
We love our supporters so at every pop up we will be giving away FREE limited edition pins to the FIRST 200 attendees
Admission was free, but you had to register online via an eventbrite link:
to print out your free admission pass:
At the check-in desk, you got a nice lanyard, badge, and a free pin (for the first 200 attendees).
 The back of the badge showed all the sponsors.

I really liked this show. Smaller scale with lots of vendors and room to move around. Pasadena Convention Center means easy logistics. Lots of parking. A big shopping and restaurant area right across the street.

Mostly went in response to some great social media posts by long-time exhibitor pals:

Terrific marketing convinced me to attend. Always great to see friends, but here are 3 areas the marketing by Flat Bonnie touched on that compelled me to make the trip out to the show...

1) New product:

Text from Flat Bonnie post with this pic: "Come meet "Jacaron" - Jackalopes that love macarons too much at Enamel Market at Pasadena Convention Center Tomorrow (8/10) 10am-5pm.
*It's FREE to attend thanks to DesignerCon"

2) Amusing vignettes featuring product. An ongoing series of these appear on Flat Bonnie social media. They are engaging, entertaining, and perfect vehicles to share a marketing message..

3) Story behind the art. Sharing your story connects you with fans. Flat Bonnie donates to several different small animal rescue groups throughout the year.
I picked up an assortment of Flat Bonnie stickers to send to my pen pals! Also notice the bookmark at the bottom and the cool postcards I will also be sharing. Postcards are multi-purpose merch items! An easy price point. Lots of room to share contact info and story behind the art and/or artist. Postcards also make a great bookmark!!

The creator behind the wildly popular Corgli and Co brand used this show to branch out with their "World of Zhen" brand, featuring more personal work.
The Corgli and Co work more in my wheelhouse, but this table a great opportunity for the artist and their fans to see other facets of this creator.
Just like an investment portfolio... a healthy art portfolio should be diversified. A family friendly, commercial main product gives you access to a broad market and a steady income stream. A popular-appeal product also gives you creative wiggle room. Doing more niche-market personal work is a way to recharge, and connects you with a different fan base and professional network.
The key is branding.
You can have a larger umbrella/parent company, but don't put diversified products under a single label. Use branding to identify distinct products. Branding also directs your customers to the merch that meets their needs.

World of Zhen table.
My merch haul again focused on stickers, this time with Corgli and Co characters. Brilliant extra here was the merchandise bag with an original sketch on it (seen in center of pic below). The artist had prepared several of these bags ahead of time, so I got to choose the image. What a terrific incentive item.. perhaps for purchases over a certain amount (could be what I qualified for as I got multiples of several of these stickers).
As the exhibitor, you can always decide to add on an incentive time as a "freebie".. but why not display it with a price tag and help  educate attendees about prices and values.
It's artWORK after all...

This table got my attention with a great display! Study this photo to see all the smart moves here. Tons of signs. Email list right out front (on the left). Vertical displays. Theme colors. Large sign with pricing and discount price for bundles (on the right). Lots to learn from here.
Plus a postcard sized business card with ALL the contacts! And a flat, card stock back to write on. Brilliant! Love this!!
And the more I talked with artist Aimee Han and learned her story (a graphic designer and former science teacher) the more connected I felt to her product. She featured a poster of "My Punny Alphabet." The pins for this are just getting started.
Fingers crossed that "A is for Artwork" comes out soon! That message is right in line with the themes here on the blog, and when I'm visiting with indie artist exhibitors. I would buy pins just to pass out to folks...
like I did for years with these buttons from Alaska Robotics.
Meanwhile I snapped up some fun science themed and bee pins..

Some clever pins here caught my eye. 
What I really loved was this "Rainbow Road" pet pin, which I haven't seen anything like before. If you have pets and pet loving friends, you're no doubt familiar with the Rainbow Bridge. This pin salutes that sentiment, but also evokes a bit of "yellow brick road" adventure and whimsy that puts a hopeful spin on the situation. None of our pet friends live long enough, but they stay with us forever. This pin is a sweet memorial to that bond.
You can order the pin here:
Like other tables at the show, there was a bit of pop culture-fan art fun here. 
Everyone enjoys the fan art playground, but it's original Intellectual Property (IP) that shows the growth potential for artists and their brand. 


Many indie artists do create pop-culture character/themed work that is licensed from the license holders. However, most customers don't know that these rights agreement relationships exist for some products and not others. Instead, most customers just assume all "fan art" is the same. It's not. It's a rights issue in a big grey area. I love to see an indie art take on licensed IP, but I still hope someday there will be a standard provisional license for fan art. It would educate attendee-fan-customers as well as level the playing field for exhibitors. The situation is complicated, but for now, we just have a gray area for fans and creators that only adds to the confusion. For the most part, major license  holders look the other way. Enforcement does happen, but it's haphazard. Meanwhile, several generations of collectors have been getting mixed messages about IP protections and artist rights. Eroding those rights is a slippery slope. I don't have all the answers, but I keep up with the discussions among artists, companies, and at legal panels at Comic Cons. Several links in the "Your Guide" post on the blog (it gets updated every month):

I loved the Yadyadayda co business cards that shared their story! With the proliferation of online shopping, it's getting harder to connect creators with their customers. Click-and-ship has its place, but nothing beats knowing where your merch comes from, who made it, and why your're supporting them with a purchase. Reaching out with your indie-art-life story helps build those bridges. 

Just when my eyes were staring to feel a bit glazed over with all the pins of cartoonish characters, logos, pop culture references etc. etc. etc.
some more representational images made me stop at the table of..

and her tablemate (below R)
More nice use of vertical displays -- even a guitar case! 
The natural history themes here reminded me of some artist pals I know. I picked up a few items for possible future gifts.

Next event to check out at the Pasadena Convention Center...
will be Lightbox Expo Sept 6th-8th! 

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